In the darkness, I hear Golda, my cat, as she pushes the bedroom door open just enough to slip in. Softly she finds her way to the bed and her purring is soon filling my ears. Hank who lies at the foot of the bed, quietly growls. He thinks that it is his bed. I think about how Golda has changed over the past year. She once was such a saucy girl, taunting and teasing the boys but this past spring she was very ill with infected bites on her neck and face. We suspect an issue with one of the other cats. She no longer exits the house every morning as she once did-with confidence and enthusiasm. She cautiously looks from side to side and thinks long before she places a foot outside the door. I too have had health issues, wife issues, mother issues and I no longer begin my days with confidence. I also stop and think.
Settled once again, we lie here listening to the sounds of the night...the sounds of our hearts that speak to us..sounds that we hear but cannot see. A screech owl sends forth his mournful wail. There are two of them as they answer back and forth. It conjures up all sorts of images. This creature has been regarded over history as an emblem of wisdom at times and other times-an evil omen. It has flown with witches and carried dying souls to the beyond. It has brought death to some and to others- a renewal of life; an amazing creature who can live sometimes seventy long years. At dusk with confidence, it leaves its cavity in a tree and begins to glide over the meadow and treetops. It welcomes the darkness. It is so suited to it with its eyes that need only a pale moon and a few stars to find its way and ears that can hear the tiniest rustle of grass and an ever so tiny whimper of a mouse as it passes over. Its softly contoured feathers, fringed at the edge, allow it to glide silently so that there is no warning of its coming, only the silence. No sound in his ear will distract him.
I think back to the hot summer evenings of my youth when with bare feet we would chase each other in and out of shadows until bedtime. Before we surrendered to our mothers, we would have one last run to the edge of the woods where the darkness had settled deep and foreboding. Arriving there, grasping at the dark, we would turn and run home-exhilarated. We felt brave.
As our games were simple, so too were our days. We understood the magic of each day; morning by morning receiving our portions with little pride or arrogance. We simply waited and trusted in God’s goodness each day. For a while we simply believed.
But now that we are grown, there are issues and we can’t seem to find our way or grasp at the dark with brave hearts. Our failures and mistakes lie heavy upon us, covering everything we do. How simple it would be if we could once again, let God be God in our lives. His vision far surpasses ours as He sees into our hearts and what He would have us be. He speaks to the world in nature, in grace, in history and experience, in the story of Jesus, in the tempest. But in hearing Him in that still small voice, all else around you dissolves and in that moment, it is just you and Him. Everything that follows will be viewed in the light of that moment. There are times in our lives when it is not enough to know of Him, to understand the rhetoric, to respect the wealth of biblical knowledge but we need to feel the warmth and comfort of His closeness. So we must bend and bend and incline our ears and submit our hearts as we look to the unseen.
“Everyone that thirsts come...incline your ear and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”